In Shop Blog, Techniques

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My sister-in-law killed her college landlord with a voodoo doll, so don’t try tell me that curses don’t exist.

The curse du jour is an innocent flat-panel door I’m building for a wall-hung cabinet. It couldn’t be a simpler piece of work. It’s a single panel of cherry with two battens on the backside that are nailed and clinched.

On the last nail on the last batten, the batten split in twain as I clinched it. So that meant I had to de-clinch five nails, remove them from the door and do all of this without damaging the rest of the door.

Here’s how I did it.

If awls rule the afterlife (and I hope they do not), they are going to have an especially pointy place reserved for me when I depart for the workroom in the sky. That’s because I have found birdcage awls to be excellent at removing clinched nails.

I simply use the awl to burrow a hole next to and under the nail. Then I lever the clinched section up with the awl. Birdcage and brad awls are especially good at this because they are boring tools, unlike the scratch awl.

Then I can use my nippers to pull the nails out and start over again.

So how do I know this door is cursed? Check out this hinge mortise. Yup. I snapped two brass screws as I was driving them home. Lucky for me, Glen Huey has a 1/4″ screw extractor.

This will teach me to never leave my chicken bones at home.

– Christopher Schwarz

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